The San Jose Sharks have placed forward Evander Kane on waivers this morning.
If Kane clears waivers — which he most likely will, given both his contract and how long he’s been away from the ice — he’ll be assigned to the San Jose Barracuda in the American Hockey League.
Kane’s 21-game suspension for violating the NHLPA’s COVID protocol by submitting a false vaccination card ends tomorrow, and Kane has yet to skate or practice with the team, although it was reported last week that he was at the Sharks Ice facility prior to the Sharks’ practice.
Sharks assistant manager Joe Will told media that he expects Kane to report to the Barracuda on Tuesday and that the decision to waive him is “the best [option] at this time” for Kane to be able to play. He also added that there’s no timeline for him to return to the NHL level and that the team is exploring trades.
Despite reports that last season’s exit interviews with Sharks players included several complaints about Kane and his disregard for club rules, the locker room was not necessarily consulted about this decision.
“That decision is a management decision that we talked about, but we also try and take into account everything we look at — everything from, you know, how the team’s playing at the time, team chemistry,” said Will. “We have a really good thing going in the room right now. … He hasn’t played for quite a while.”
The Barracuda do not play until next Saturday, Dec. 4, against the Abbotsford Canucks. That game, as well as the two that follow, will be on the road.
There have been rumors that there is some interest in the winger, though a trade is unlikely until after he’s returned to the ice — and teams may want to see him back at the NHL level before acquiring him. The Sharks are willing to retain salary on the trade, so while the team on the other end of a trade is gaining a PR disaster, at least he’ll be relatively cheap.
Kane, 30, has an additional three years remaining on his seven-year, $7 million annual contract, which is front-loaded in real dollars. The contract also carries a very limited no trade clause that only allows trades to a list of three teams. He is expected to waive this in order to be moved from the Sharks.
The winger scored 22 goals and 49 points through 56 games last season, leading the team in goals and points. This will be the first AHL stint in his career.